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05/27/2015 08:00 AM

Nothing Short of Beautiful

In a world where anti-bullying campaigns have become the norm and half of suicides are related to bullying, it’s pretty remarkable to witness the exact opposite occurring in a place where youth are usually at their cruelest: high school. High school, a time when you’re most unsure of who you are and have yet to learn what’s really important in life, is when you’ll be critiqued more than ever on what’s least important.

For any kid this can be terrifying, so one can only imagine what it’s like for a child such as my niece Alyssa, who has special needs. Since birth she’s been deemed as not measuring up to societal standards, never mind the superficial checklist of a high school. Anxiety was high when Alyssa entered North Branford High School as a new student her sophomore year. To our surprise, in this infamous rite of passage, her classmates ended up loving her instead.

Alyssa attended her senior prom this past weekend. Not only did she have an amazing time, but she was also surrounded by amazing kids who decided to honor her as prom queen.

Humanity is ugly sometimes, but then there are moments that are nothing short of beautiful, and we thank the entire senior class for generously giving Alyssa and our family that moment. This gratitude is extended to the entire student body. A special thank you goes to Mrs. Artaiz for her sincere compassion, patience, and kindness. Last but certainly not least, hats off to the faculty and staff; it is they who determine what world is created within those walls. We thank them for creating one of love and tolerance.

Who knew that in such a normal, unremarkable town there’d be some truly remarkable kids?

Lyndsie Zirles

North Branford